Experiencing ‘Man Ray Portraits’

I recently went to the national portrait gallery’s current Man Ray Portraits exhibition in London. This was a great experience for me because Man Ray has been one of my favourite photographers for a few years now. This was the first time I have seen his original prints. What I felt was really special about the exhibition was the fact that these prints are one-of-a-kind photographs, hand crafted by the photographer. They are printed by hand in the darkroom and cannot be replicated. Some of the prints themselves are rather small, but this invites the viewer to move closer. Teamed with the fact that these are one-off artifacts, the exhibition created a sense of intimacy between print and audience.

‘Le Violon d’Ingres’, by Man Ray, 1924.

In terms of my work, the exhibition has made me realise the importance of the physicality of a photograph in the experiencing of it. It allows the audience to move around it, in a sense, participating in their experience of the work. I will definitely create physical prints of my photos so the viewers can participate in this way.

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